"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
J. R. R. Tolkien
Dreaming and planning for my second-half-century (if the Lord wills) and believing that we may have the privilege, still, to build and inhabit an uncommon place — to extend and expand the rich fellowship and activity of the happy and bustling home that has been for decades our central occupation and calling.
“The Thomas House” — we have tended to call it — would be a family home, a hospitality house, a gathering place, and the natural habitat of easy laughter and of conversation, without haste or excess propriety.
In this place (built among family and like-hearted friends, in a being-carefully-explored geographical location), there would be a village of family industries, a dash of amateur agriculture, the smell of wood-chips, and an attentive supply of good food and drink (a notable bit of it home-grown, raised, or brewed).
The talking, writing, teaching, singing, strumming, worship, and creative media-making that would live in this place, would together craft the stories that our lives crave telling, with all the folks that veer from the road — inadvertently or intentionally — to enter that front door.
In atmosphere and activity, community and well-broken-in comfort, and even in look and landscape — we would love this Place to be a mix of the two places pictured above: the place that shaped me and my deepest affections and a place of profound historical connection. The first was formed and nurtured by my father and mother (Zion Hill Bible Conference) and the second (George Washington’s Mount Vernon) reminds me of my father every time I visit.